Setting and Making Realistic Financial New Year’s Resolutions

It is almost that time of season when you will begin to ponder your new year’s resolution.  Will it be exercise?  Will it be a new diet? Or will it have something to do with improving your family finances.  Making resolutions (or goals) can be a very difficult process because it often makes you face some of your own realities like it or not.   When you decide to set goals that are realistic, I have been a big cheerleader over the years to use the S-M-A-R-T goal setting system.  Here is how it works. *S is for Specific– Be very specific about what you are trying to accomplish.  Don’t tell yourself you want to pay down debt.  Instead, give yourself a specific goal such as paying off $10,000 of debt. *M is for Measurable– Have a way to track your progress.   In the last example, make a chart for paying off $833 a month and cross it off each month ...

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What do Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, and the word SALE have in common?

None of us like the idea of going bankrupt. The whole notion of losing all of our money or being in a financial position where we tell ourselves we have to give up and wave the white flag can be a simply awful feeling. We’ve seen over the past decade some colossal meltdowns of investments that, at first glance, appear to be bullet proof until they turned out to be massive Ponzi schemes and frauds such as in the cases of Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In the flick of a switch, those millions and millions of dollars in investments became a black hole of nothingness seemingly overnight. So what in the world do these guys and the world SALE have in common? In helping many people manage their budgets and family finances, words like SALE, FREE, and ZERO are some of the most dangerous words in the English language. If you’re not careful with how you make up your ...

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Do You Eat Out Too Much?

If you’ve noticed that your disposable income may be sneaking out the back door of your family finances, one of the causes could be between the lunches and dinners that you eat out every week.    With our family of five, I’ve noticed that even eating out at a basic Darden casual fare restaurant can run $60 to $80 with basic fountain drinks.    Add in a couple of appetizers and you could be reaching $100 for a family of five.    In addition, your lunches at the local deli in the basement of your building or a casual fast fare type restaurant can set you back $10 a day pretty quickly during the work week.    Total up all of your lunches and dinners, and you could be losing those valuable disposable dollars that can help you build a college education or retirement fund.    Dining out and entertainment expenses have become a blurred line in the family budgeting process because of so many ...

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Save $1,000 On Your Cell Phone Bill?

How is it possible that such a simple device like our mobile phone has become so complicated?  I can remember back in 1991 when I had my first cell phone (that I couldn’t even detach) installed into my beautiful Dodge Shadow.   A phone was used pretty simply to make a phone call.  Today, we’ve got texting, calling, messaging, games, and thousands of applications with the electronic wallet not too far behind.    This means as the CEO of your family finances, you’ve got to more closely assess the cost of doing business with your mobile phone choice and your provider.  It’s important that you proactively seek out how to keep your bill lower as your mobile phone provider won’t be calling you with a discount on the bill.  Here are five ways you can control the costs on your family cell phone bill, and maybe even save as much as a $1,000 in the process. 1)  AVOID CONTRACTS! BUY A CONTRACT-FREE PHONE:   ...

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How Can You Improve Your Fuel Economy?

You know gas prices are rising out of control when you are debating which button to press before you fill your tank up at the pump.   With gas prices ballooning to more than four dollars a gallon, some of you with those large SUV’s have been paying more than $100 to fill up your car at the gas station.     It’s getting more and more important to the bottom line of your family finances to manage how much you drive or it could cost you dearly within your budget.    You might also be able to take small measures every month to reduce the impact of these rising gas prices by paying attention to what your car tells you to improve your overall fuel economy.  Here are few smart money moves tips you can use each month. Heed Warning Signs – CarMD  (www.carmd.com) research shows that at least 10 percent of motorists have a “check engine” light on right now, and half ...

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Personal Finance 101- Generation X Series- You Won’t Make Hay Forever

Generation X is classically defined at people born between the years 1965 and 1979.    Pretty much those of you in your early 30’s to the mid 40’s.  However, having given personal financial advice to thousands of people, I can tell you that many of you who were born 1960 to 1964 fit within the Generation X type of financial and personal attitude.   In week two, I wanted to share with you the attitude you need to have as the CEO of your family finances called  – you won’t make hay forever. Since many of you either just celebrated your 20 year college reunion or your 20 year high school reunion, it is always a life moment that gives you a chance to pause and reflect.   Could you remember those days in high school or college where you didn’t have any money, and worked just hard enough to afford some beer money for the weekend or a tank of gas for ...

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